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You’re engaged! Congratulations! You and your best friend get to spend the rest of your life and you get to plan a fantastic party. It’s awesome! It’s a lot. After you get engaged, after all the champagne toasts and phone calls home … where do you start?

1. Create a Vision

Before you can get on with anything, you need to know what you’re getting on with. Pull up your Pinterest and spend a few guilt-free hours creating an aesthetic. It’s planning you guys.

Are you looking for wilderness and wild flowers? Or the biggest church you can find? Now is not the time to pick the church; it’s the time to imagine what your ideal wedding day would look like. Down the road, it will help you decide between magenta invitations or cream ones. Check out the K&B Pinterest for a little inspo!

Sounds silly, but creating a framework to operate within is actually more freeing in the long-run. You don’t have to spend six hours looking at cakes (unless to want to because cake). You can simply eliminate all the styles that don’t fit your vision and pick from those that remain.

This is also when you put together a budget. Ah, the money. It’s never fun to think about, but it’s definitely a part of the planning. Again, it’s about building a framework to reference once the wedding planning gets overwhelming.

Is it more important to get married in a ballroom that overlooks Baltimore Harbor? Or to have steak instead of chicken to serve the guests? When someone asks you a question, your budget and your vision will allow you have a quick answer.

2. Pick a Wedding Date

Unless you have a specific venue that you’ve been dreaming about getting married at since you were five, in which case you might have to bow to their scheduling, you are in charge of this wedding journey. You get to pick your wedding date!

Your wedding day should ideally reflect your inspiration in terms of seasonal appropriateness. It might also be a reflection of some special date from your family or relationship.

Once you have a rough idea of what’s available, it’s time for a little flexibility. Call around and see what dates your preferred venues have available. One or two weeks wiggle room is totally good. No worries! Book it, and take a breath that it’s done.

3. Call Your Bridesmaids

After your fiance, your girls are your best support. Let them know that they’re in your wedding! Whether you want to do this with an adorable gift, or a heartfelt phone call, reach out. They want to celebrate with you, and your maid of honor probably wants to start planning your bachelorette party. You’re only engaged once!

You’re also going to want them to come to your bridal appointment which brings us to …

4. Start Looking for Your Wedding Dress

Trust us; it’s not too early. Really. After your venue, your dress sets a huge tone for the day. Brides often wait too long to begin wedding dress shopping. The perfect moment is right after you pick your wedding date, usually a year out from the actual date itself.

Wedding dresses are cut to order, so once you find your perfect gown, they take four to six months to come in. And that’s just to the store! A good seamstress is then going to want three months for alterations.

Thinking you don’t need your dress altered? You need to read this.

If that sounds like a crazy long time-line, it’s because it is. Obviously, we want everything to go perfectly. Wedding dress shopping should be fun and relaxing, and that extra time allows for little things to be ironed out if for some reason they should pop up.

Of course, that’s not for everyone. If you’re a bride who’s reading this and panicking because your wedding is in four months, don’t! At K&B, we have plenty of shorter-term options to help you find your dream dress.

5. Realize That This is Happening

Obviously, you know that you’re engaged. You have a ring after all! For a lot of brides though, knowing you’re getting married is different than feeling and many times brides don’t feel like they’re getting married until they have a wedding dress on for the first time. It’s a big moment.

Ready for that moment? Book your appointment with your own personal bridal stylist here!

Take a sec to realize that this is real life! Because it’s real life, you don’t have to love what you loved on Pinterest when you put it on. Maybe there’s a gown you find while shopping that you never even imagined on Pinterest, but it’s totally the one. Maybe you were for sure on the princess look, but aren’t crazy about how it looks on your frame. It’s okay to change your mind about what kind of wedding gown you want.

Your bridal stylist is here to help! She’ll listen to your feedback and go out and find a gown that maybe you never thought you’d love, but feels just right. When you have that moment, the “just right” Goldilocks moment, enjoy it.

It might come with the first gown or the fiftieth. That’s your sign to stop trying on dresses. Once you’ve found the one, it can get overwhelming and just plain un-fun to try on more dresses because you’re constantly comparing.  Like love, it sneaks up on you. Let it!

6. Take a Breath

It’s easy in the wedding whirlwind, to forget what it’s all about. Your love story! Take a minute, or a whole evening off from from the planning. Do something special together like recreate your first date, or something simple like a quiet night in. Discuss your vision for the rest of your life together. Enjoy the small moments from this special time.

Can you believe that you get to spend the your life with this person? That you’re having a party to celebrate your love and the life you’re going to have? It’s amazing!

Enjoy this time; it goes fast. Congratulations girl, you’re engaged!